Blessed Sacrament Fathers

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(SSS, Official Catholic Directory #0220); founded in France in 1856 by Pierre Julien eymard as a religious society of men who would devote themselves entirely to the glorification of the Holy Eucharist. The members of the congregation consist of both priests and lay brothers. Eymard had been ordained for the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834 and later joined the Society of Mary. After 17 years as a Marist, he founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament for which he obtained formal approbation from Pius IX in 1863. From 1856 until his death Eymard worked on the constitutions of the congregation. He called this his only book although a collection of his sermons has been published in book form. Definitive approbation for the constitutions was obtained from Rome in 1895. At the time of his death in 1868 the society maintained seven houses, five in France and two in Belgium, and included 50 religious, of whom 16 were priests.

The congregation engages also in all forms of apostolate that spread the glory of the Holy Eucharist. The specific works have varied since the days of its foundation. Eymard devoted himself to the preparation of adults for their first Holy Communion, a great need in his day. The fathers have since promoted affiliated societies for different categories of persons who participate in the eucharistic vocation of the religious themselves.

The congregation was first divided into provinces in 1930. The U.S. provincialate is in Cleveland, Ohio. The generalate is in Rome.

Bibliography: e. nuÑez, ed., Commentaire des constitutions de la Congrégation du Très Saint Sacrement (Rome 1958), with bibliographies. Centenaire de la Congrégation du Très Saint Sacrement, 18561956 (Rome 1956). e. tenaillon, Venerable Pierre Julien Eymard (New York 1914). f. trochu, Le Bienheureux Pierre-Julien Eymard: d'après ses écrits, son procès de béatification, et de nombreux documents inédits (Lyons 1949).

[j. roy/eds.]